Ethiopia uses the Julian calendar, which has 12 months of each containing 30 days, and an additional 13th month with 5 days (6 days in a leap year) locally known as “pagume” means “additional” in Greek. The Ethiopian Calendar is seven or eight years behind the Gregorian calendar.
Ethiopia is three hours ahead of GMT time zone. In Ethiopia, the 12-hour clock cycles do not begin at midnight and noon, but instead are offset six hours. Thus, Ethiopians refer to midnight (or noon) as 6 o'clock.
Banking & Business Hours
Normally government offices and major businesses operate during normal working hours from Monday through Friday. Some private businesses are open on Saturdays as well. Sunday is officially a resting day.
Banks: Monday - Thursday 08:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00, Friday 08:30-11:30 and 13:00-17:00
Shops: Monday - Friday: 08:00-02:30 and 15:30-19:30, Saturday: 09:00-13:00 and 15:00-19:00
Ethiopians love to celebrate, or enjoy special occasions and family gatherings. Several yearly festivals are celebrated within Ethiopia. One of them is the Ethiopian New Year which commences on the 10th or 11th of September. Enkutatash, means "gift of jewels”, is a time Ethiopia celebrates the New Year. It is a time of exchange among members without exclusiveness. It is a spring festival in which singing occurs along with festive dancing.
Timket is a time of celebration approximately 2 weeks after the celebration of Ethiopian Christmas. The celebration is full of drama and colorful procession. The festival is three days long, and takes place during the most beautiful weather in Ethiopia.
Christmas (Genna) is also a time of celebration in Ethiopia. The actual holiday, Lidet, takes place normally on 7th January as a serious festival that occurs through the night. During the day, many young men will be found playing genna. Genna is a traditional game similar to hockey.
Meskal is the celebration of finding the true cross where Jesus was crucified upon. The celebration has occurred for more than 1600 years. The feast is celebrated currently on the 27th of September. During the celebration Meskal flowers are placed upon tall branches. In the evening, the branches are placed appropriately and ignited.
Meskal festivities begin with planting a green tree within each town square and marketplace. Each individual takes a daisy meskal pole to form a gigantic pyramid. Branches, or Chibo, are used to light the bundles known as demera. Celebrations of dancing and eating occur during this time. Bonfires are created and gun salutes given. The mountains regions are covered with flowers during this time of the year. The meadows are full of yellow meskal daisies. It is definitely a wonderful site to see.
Fasika is Ethiopia's Easter celebration which occurs after christen members participated in a set time fasting of Lent. Members do not partake of meat or dairy products during this time, and they consume only egetarian meals. During the church celebration, candles are lit for a beautiful Easter service. After the service, members are allowed to return home to break their fast. The time with the family is given with the exchange of gifts.
Festivals are an important part of Ethiopian culture. Traditions are held within the communities. Islamic festivals are also held within the region. Jewish festivals are also presented. Each year is a time of celebration, which creates more historical value for Ethiopia.